NHL backs Martin St. Louis SO goal

TAMPA, Fla. -- An NHL spokesman on Thursday said the shootout-winning move by the Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis against the Chicago Blackhawks was legal.

The spokesperson told ESPNChicago.com that the spin-o-rama, which ended with St. Louis moving the puck from his forehand to backhand before roofing one past goalie Corey Crawford, was legal because the entire move contained "continuous motion."

Rule 24.2 covering penalty shots and shootout attempts states "the puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent's goal line and once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete." The rule specifically allows for a spin-o-rama, which technically moves the puck backwards. But in question with St. Louis was whether he stopped the motion of the puck after his spin move to deliver the backhand goal.

The league claims every stick-handling move entails a momentary change of direction and stoppage of the puck and reiterated St. Louis' move was consistent with its "continuous motion" precept.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said it looked like St. Louis came to a complete stop, and Crawford also was suspicious.

"It was pretty close," Crawford said after the game. "It looked like maybe he stopped for a second and then kept going. They think they made the right decision so we just have to live with it."

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.